This season, a brand-new bar has materialized alongside the established music venue for a true multisensory evening out. Recently released into the wild on July 10 of this year, Bar Bar's grand opening springboards an outdoor-patio concert series, smoking and non-smoking patios, and a creative cocktail menu. A succinct lineup will be available, with more options added with each massing moonset. Hang a fang on a 3/8 lb. classic burger ($5.50, $6 with cheese) before cooling off with a refreshing cocktail at the new space fashioned by renowned Portland entrepreneurs Alicia J. Rose, Jim Brunberg, Peter Bro (Aalto Lounge, Broder Cafe, Savoy Bistro), Tali Ovadia (The Whole Bowl), and Kevin Cradock.
A mid-size, comfortable and reverent music and event venue. The hardwood floors, chandeliers and spacious elegance evoke the lobby of a Western hotel, reborn as a music hall and art nouveau lounge. The atmosphere is part club-house, part secret society. Karaoke, comedy and dancing round out the schedule.
Judd Rench's Bula Kava House transports diners to the calming South Pacific with a menu of exotic kava and Hawaiian cuisine. Kava, an ancient beverage originating from Oceania, is concocted by mixing water with a ground root similar to the black-pepper plant and straining out the liquid, producing calming effects on the imbiber. Slurp down a lulling libation such as the powerful Hawaiian Isa, which emanates a mild gingery flavor ($4), or the Melo Melo from Vanuatu, a sweet serum so relaxing it could get a grizzly bear to hibernate in a crowded hotel lobby ($3.50). Pair a stress-subduer with a Hawaiian nosh such as the Pele sandwich with pan roasted turkey, Tillamook cheddar, and avocado surfing atop a ciabatta bun ($7). Or, sample the Chocolate Haupia pie, which couples sacchariferous dark chocolate and coconut custard with a nutty, macadamia-shortbread crust ($5).
West Fest 2011, an outdoor music festival nestled in Wallace Marine Park, entertains concertgoers with a brimming lineup of classic and contemporary rock performers. Headlining musician Chuck Prophet—known for recording alongside Warren Zevon, sharing stage space with Lucinda Williams, and living up to his last name by predicting future events—takes the stage at 8 p.m. with his band The Mission Express. Session guitarist Jeff Pevar from David Crosby side-project CPR opens the night at 6:30 p.m. with a solo performance and three-handed ventriloquist-dummy quartet.
Capitol City Theater draws on deep local talent pools to provide a dynamic display of on-the-spot comedy for the smile-deprived masses. Each show lasts 90 minutes and features a family-friendly revue of improvised performance games. Acts draw on the suggestions of audience members, provided they promise not to suggest Millard Fillmore or seahorse mating rituals, the only two subjects scientifically proven to have no inherent comedic value. Though Capitol City comedy shows are always all-ages, beverages and alcohol-enhancing snacks are available. Today’s Groupon is also good for two adult drinks (up to $8 value); choose from beer, wine, soda, or surprisingly mature bottled water. There is one intermission during the hour-and-a-half show, so you’ll still be able to check stock quotes for your plucky cryogenics start-up.
Two of Christian music’s most iconic artists, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith join forces to spread the good news, leading congregations in melodious worship on their 2 Friends Tour. Since 1982, this dynamic duo has engaged millions to flock to their catchy, ecclesiastical pop music, sharing a musical camaraderie as impenetrable as a fortress with abandonment issues. Amy Grant, author of No. 1 hits such as “El Shaddai” and “Baby Baby,” has shared her gift of song for more than 30 years, selling more than 30 million albums, garnering six Grammys, and earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Michael W. Smith has earned countless accolades with his tremendous songbook of head-bobbing hymns and choir-rousing hits. Sharing the stage for the first time in two decades, Amy and Michael thrill fans with new psalms and favorites from their sonic scroll, merging their sets with joyful duets and chemistry that crackles like Abbott and Costello after getting struck by lightning.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
It's a timeless scene: a man in a suit masterfully navigates the ivory keys of a Mason & Hamlin grand piano on a small stage, its Plexiglas lid illuminating the hammers as they delicately pad along the strings. On stools gathered around the instrument, a couple dines on braised filet mignon, and a bit farther back in the softly lit, intimate venue, a waiter carries a tray of gourmet cocktails. Every night, Ivories Jazz Lounge & Restaurant sets the stage for world-class jazz players and the culinary stylings of chef and occasional ice sculptor Art Trafton. The menu is loaded with supper-club classics such as beef au poivre, mixed grille, and a diverse selection of pastas. The bar stirs up similarly comforting signature drinks, among them the alpine with peppermint schnapps, whipped cream, and hot cocoa.
Around dusk, ensembles that often include founder and master pianist Jim Templeton take to the stage with a blend of improvisation and standards. Nightly events range from jazz collectives to blues players, and occasionally depart from the jazz-club template to feature standup, poetry, and workshops on topics ranging from music to jazz-style stage-diving etiquette.
Before it mutated into a weaponized haze of reality shows, MTV aired a novelty known as the music video. These bite-sized works of art, which married pop songs to striking imagery, revolutionized the entertainment industry and ushered in an era of music known as “new wave.” For the task of curating and introducing these fresh sounds and flamboyant sights to audiences, MTV even created its own version of the disc jockey—the VJ.
Though MTV has sent its stable of video jockeys out to pasture, VJ Kittyrox carries the pastel, shoulder-padded torch of Adam Curry and Nina Blackwood as she masterminds the 80s Video Dance Attack. For the last seven years, this popular shindig has united generations of Portlandians with its five-hour feast of '80s-centric sensation. Across 10-foot screens, VJ Kittyrox projects classic videos from artists such as Duran Duran and Michael Jackson as audiences of Breakfast Clubbers and Pretty in Pinkers perfect their cabbage patch, running man, and Pat Benatar shimmies. A bombastic, thumping sound system and a dazzling light show accentuate the time warp as audiences deck themselves in '80s garb and shake away memories of unsolved rubik’s cubes.
The inspiration behind Rise Dance+Lab, a dance school for children aged 3–14, isn't what you might expect. Evie Graham originally established Vega Dance Lab, a studio exclusively for adult students, when she noticed a glut of kids' dance studios in her search for classes she could take herself. Of course, Evie is a parent herself, and though she found plenty of dance studios her kids could attend, most were far away from downtown Portland. So with one successful dance studio under her belt, Evie and her husband Joe founded Rise Dance+Lab, a studio in the center of the city where kids could discover and hone skills in diverse styles of dance. There, younger dancers begin with classes such as Tutu Cute or Turn! Jump! Leap!, which explore movement and teach the basics of dance and class etiquette. As kids get older, they begin developing more polished moves in styles such as hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary, even working toward injecting the choreography with their own experiences and feelings to give their moves more emotional depth and find a method of expression that can't be stolen and read by a nosy sibling.
Four Horsemen Haunted Attractions spooks its guests twice over with two connected haunted houses spanning more than 18,000 square feet. The gut-wrenching walkthroughs kick off with Primus, where scientists have uncovered strange organisms that showcase advances in science and medicine. But what they uncovered is not at benign as it seemed, causing horrific mutations of the most ancient kind. Four Horsemen's actors elicit screams through dialogue and shocking reveals, elevating the genre beyond cheap-and-dirty scare tactics that usually include dressing up like each guest’s high-school gym teacher. In the connected Hellhouse, guests follow in the footsteps of a film crew hoping to find the mysterious place where a band of serial killers kept their victims. Scripted live-action sequences and seamlessly integrated video back up roving monsters, creating a uniquely immersive haunted experience.
The River Rock Summer Concert Series spreads out along the bank of the Willamette River, drawing crowds to watch legends and rising stars of rock, blues, and soul strut their stuff.
Local Northwest wine and beer offerings are available and food vendors dish up everything from pulled pork and mac and cheese to jambalaya and oyster shooters. Families can enjoy the children’s area presented by Discovery Village with hands on activities such as blowing bubbles or constructing a functional recording booth from giant blocks.
At first blush, Joy Cinema and Pub bears a striking resemblance to classic movie theaters with its intimate lobby, marquee surrounded by neon lights, and 1950s-style cartoon mural behind its concessions stand. However, this cinema differentiates itself from its forebears with a schedule of newly released Hollywood hits, generous pours of frothy microbrews, and occasional 3D features. Evening shows are "minor with parent" unless otherwise specified.
Sizzling steak and acoustic guitars battle for attention on Saturday nights at Gaucho's Argentine Cuisine. Argentinian chef Hans's menu is highlighted by traditional dishes, such as empanadas and grilled hanger steak, as well as contemporary cuisine that includes a mushroom Alfredo ravioli. Gaucho's features a full kids menu for children and anyone with a second, slightly smaller stomach.
When they first opened, Primrose & Tumbleweeds sold 47 types of wine by the bottle. Today, their selection has increased to more than 4,000 wines, with regional pride fueling its growth—the store features a gigantic sampling of wines made in Oregon and the Northwest. Such a sizable inventory might seem intimidating, but the staff has settled on a few surefire methods for doling out sips: daily tastings, an ever-changing "Today's Pour" menu, and a weekday happy hour that runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., not to mention live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Even though wine is the main event, the venue is no mere wine bar. More than 250 craft beers and 75 hard ciders round out the list of libations, in addition to small-batch spirits that are distilled locally. The food menu proves just as changeable as the drink specials, with seasonal dishes such as bratwurst simmered in Guinness and the remains of a local snowman. The kitchen's ingredients are typically local, and the prep, hands-on. For example, homemade soups full of mushrooms and Hungarian spices complement sandwiches piled with turkey, brie, and whole-berry cranberry sauce.